Mark Leckey at The Bluecoat

Cyberman with Gargoyle


We’re excited about the Mark Leckey-curated show, opening this week at The Bluecoat. The Birkenhead-born ex-Casual won the Turner prize in 2008 for his Industrial Lights and Magic piece (which was mauled by the critics), and he’s back exploring the line between the physical and the ephemeral, the real and the virtual, with a playfully curated exhibition opening here before touring the country.

In The Universal Addressability of Dumb Things, Leckey’s gathered together a roll call of curious, odd and otherwise perplexing objects and attempted to lasso them together to show that we’ve always been drawn to stuff that blurs the line between the undead and the never-was (he’s a big fan of Jeff Koon’s ultra-slick art fabrications). Stuff that plays with our notion of form and function: appropriate, really, in a world where phones take pictures, books are digital pixels and cows are, erm, horses.

“This exhibition explores the concept of techno-animism,” the Bluecoat’s Artistic Director, Bryan Biggs says, “whereby the inanimate seemingly comes to life.”

They go on to talk about “a conceptual assemblage of archaeological artefacts.” But then, they would. We think that means there’s lots of old stuff gathered together. But we’re not sure.

What we do know is that The Universal Addressability of Dumb Things includes a clay concept car; a medieval stone gargoyle; an Egyptian cat mummy; a 13th century silver reliquary in the form of a hand; the original bronze cast of the famous Lindow bog man’s reconstructed head; and a 1940s model of a cat used to demonstrate reflexes.

Plenty to get your assemblage of inter-cranial cogs whirring, then.


The Universal Addressability of Dumb Things: Curated by Mark Leckey,
16 February – 14 April
The Bluecoat
School Lane